The Musical Teahouse: Performing the "East" in Soviet Popular Culture

February 12, 2024 | 2:00PM - 4:00PM
 | 
In-person
Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, Europe, Russia & Eurasia

This event is over

This event will take place in-person at Room 108N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON, M5S 3K7
The Soviet Union mobilized the "East" as a flexible category that linked the internal Soviet regions of Central Asia and the Caucasus to the outside world—especially the Middle East and South Asia. The "East" is often discussed as a geopolitical discourse, but what might we learn by considering the "East" as a performance? From Kazakh opera singers to Chechen dancers, Soviet performers have performed "Easternness" as a way both to integrate into a Soviet order and to subvert their implicit orientalization. This talk focuses on Yalla, the most popular pop band of Soviet Central Asia. Situating the band within the longer story of Soviet performances of the "East," this talk considers how Yalla's performance of the East changed over time -- from their early 1970s fascination with the Beatles, to their glitzy makeover during the market reforms of perestroika.
 
Claire Roosien is assistant professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University. Her research focuses on the intersection between mass media, mass culture, and mass politics in Eurasia. She is currently completing her first book, Socialism Mediated: The Making of Soviet Mass Culture in Uzbekistan.  
 
 
Sponsor: Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies
Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, Europe, Russia & Eurasia
Tanyaa Mehta ceres.events@utoronto.ca

Speakers

Claire Roosien

Assistant professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University

Edward Schatz

Director, Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, University of Toronto